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168. Why not causing a loss to someone is not necessarily my gain

July 2, 2012

This blog is not about belittling a bunch of very dear friends as much as it is about how we think. I was catching up with a bunch of friends  – who have the best of education and the best of jobs – and in the course of the conversation realised they had watched three movies back-to-back at a downtown multiplex. In most multiplexes in the US it is free seating and the ticket checking is at the lobby and not at each screen like it happens in India.

Watching three movies back-to-back did not shock me as much as the fact that they used one ticket to watch all the three movies. The reasons were – that others do this too, that the business the theater gets from snacks purchase during this lengthy period is far higher and that this was a ‘just-for-fun’ adventure. To me it was a question of ethics and nothing else.

While the theater authorities may or may not be aware of this, they do not bother because the number of people doing this would be minuscule compared to the amount they would spend to hire ticket checkers at each door.  Moreover, this is the similar mentality to that of a tiny minority of people who do not buy tickets on a Mumbai local have. The larger question is why do we choose to take advantage of freedom and take ignorance of authorities for granted.

One can argue that the theater was anyway empty and this act would not have caused a loss or that the movie was anyway running and we just entered to have some fun – would we sneak into a class of a premier institute and attend a lecture just because there are extra chairs in the class room and are not being utilised? I think America is a very liberal country and does not bother about these things but India which is full of haves and have-nots and the great Indian middle, class can never afford prosperity when a similar percentage of the population resorts to such acts. I can’t imagine how Indian theaters would function if the system of one ticket to enter the multiplex existed – People would live in theaters most weekends.

This brings me to the larger question of what we as Indians learn in our formative years versus what the Americans teach their children as they grow up. This makes me introspect what makes the two largest democracies different in terms of outlook and lifestyle. This makes me think why this country has the likes of Warren Buffets and Bill Gates and India has none of those.

This makes me wonder why we will never value human life in our country because the little things will never matter. This makes me feel that India – a land of great tradition and civilisation needs  new ethos of thinking. This is something we do because of the Chalta Hai and Jugaad attitude that we practice.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tejal permalink
    July 5, 2012 5:48 am

    Rightly said Amith. I have been following your tweets for some time and happened to read the blog. I came across a similar incident last year in London. Went to watch Delhi Belly- the show had to be cancelled due to some problem in the projector. The theatre manager dutifully offered one free ticket as compensation valid across UK. Indians in the room asked for one more complimentary ticket as they wasted 30 mins and spend on snacks. Not happy with two tickets one man approached the manager with another request. The tickets were of no use to him as he had the monthly pass, hence asked for a new set of permanent specs to watch 3D movie 😀

    • July 5, 2012 3:11 pm

      Thanks Tejal for following on twitter and for reading and commenting on the blog. Glad to know that what I wrote is not a thought in isolation but resonates elsewhere too. We Indians are too good for our own bad.

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